Friday, December 6, 2013

Diary of an Identical Twin Pregnancy, Part I - We Find Out

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of events for our family.
 
Before I start the series on my unexpected pregnancy with identical twin boys, I would like to jump ahead in the story to where we are at today: on our way home from a hospital in L.A., recovering from fetal/placental laser surgery just yesterday. As of 24 hours post-surgery, both babies are alive. Baby B is faring very well and has a great chance of survival. Baby A,  the smaller baby, is still in critical condition, though showing great progress and improvement even since yesterday. Pre-surgery, we were only given a 50/50 chance of Baby A surviving (as opposed to 0% without the surgery), but are encouraged by the promisingly quick improvement since the procedure.
 
Please join us in praying for the survival of our babies, as well as their and my swift and complete recovery. If they survive, it will first and foremost be due to the grace of God. In addition, we he have been receiving expert care all along the way since the earliest warning signs were detected. Even as recently as 10 years ago, babies like ours were doomed to both die.
 
For now, let's back up the story to when it all began.
 
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Wednesday, Oct. 23 - My first prenatal appointment with this pregnancy at 11w 5d. I was measuring a little large for dates (16cm), but anything before 20 weeks is considered fairly normal for a grand multipara (fancy term for a mom who has given birth to lots of babies). I jokingly told my midwife I was suspecting twins, but that I almost always suspect that early on, because it's somewhat of a fear of mine. Too early to check for two heart beats with a Doppler.
 
Wednesday, Nov. 20 - My second prenatal appt. at 15w 5d, exactly four weeks later. Now measuring about 23 cm, which is definitely a possible indication for multiples. The midwife checks for second heart beat with Doppler. Several minutes only reveal one heart beat, then, suddenly, a second heart beat deep on the far lower left side, hiding behind a major aorta. Midwife tells me she is 98% sure it's twins. I start crying, immediately overwhelmed at the thought of carrying, birthing, and caring adequately for two babies at once.
 
My midwife schedules a diagnostic ultrasound for late afternoon that same day
 
The ultrasound shows two babies. There is only one placenta (monochorionic), so they have to be identical. Tech initially thinks it might be girls, which surprised me because my feeling all along had been identical twin boys. However, we clearly catch a glimpse of boy parts on both shortly thereafter. So identical twin boys it is! This first ultrasound takes about 90 minutes.
 
Thursday, November 21 - My midwife receives the detailed u/s report. Concerns from the report include a possibility of monoamniotic twins (one sac, "mo/mo twins"), which is a very rare and dangerous condition, as well as twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) due to size discrepancy between the babies. My midwife strongly suggests seeing an MFM (maternal-fetal medicine) specialist, and suggests Dr. Elliot, who is considered the #1 expert in this field, nationwide, and happens to have his office just miles from our house. Moms with high-risk pregnancies move to Phoenix from all over the country to be able to have him provide their care. 
 
My midwife has worked with him in the past. She called him personally to discuss my case, as well as my concerns about patient modesty. I am fine with having my stomach exposed for ultrasounds by him if necessary, but want only to be seen by one of the female staff for anything that involves my private areas (unless we are faced with a life-and-death, emergency situation). He ensures her that his role is more that of a consultant than anything else, and that it will not be a problem.
 
 

31 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness! What a busy and overwhelming holiday season you've had thus far! My family and I are praying for you and your two little baby boys--may the Lord bless you with two healthy sons. How remarkable and what a blessing that you live in the same city as such a fine medical specialist. And from my heart--if anyone can be a proper mother to two babies at once, it's you, Zsuzsanna! God bless you, Pastor Anderson, and the TEN! --Mindy

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  2. Nine, rather! I got ahead of myself! LOL! --Mindy

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  3. I'll be praying for your babies.

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  4. praying here in ft worth tx. may you and the babies be safe and protected.
    mary

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  5. Was the purpose of the laser surgery to prevent twin to twin transfusion syndrome? What exactly did the procedure consist of? I had a patient who was the twin who didn't get enough of the prenatal circulation. He had many medical problems. I hope both babies do well and go full term.

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  6. Praise God for the successful surgery. Praying for you and your family and for the health of your precious boys.

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  7. We are praying for your family, a fast recovery from surgery, and your twin boys!

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  8. You are at the top of my prayer list and will be in my thoughts continually. I had to read the first paragraph several times because I just couldn't believe you were talking about yourself! There is nothing I can tell you that you don't already know yourself but I do want to encourage you that of course you can take care of these boys! Take every thought captive and don't allow yourself to think about all the minute details of your daily schedule. The lives of your babies will be the priority and anything else that can be done in the time that's left will be done and all the rest will fall to the way-side for a season. Your family will be fine if they eat peanut butter and jelly for a few months! ;o)

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  9. Hi there, you don't know me, but my boys were born almost 11 years ago, and they are TTTS survivors. I wish all the best to you and your family. Have you heard of/been in contact with the TTTS Foundation? The Foundation was an immense support for my husband and I when we went through this. It was really comforting to be able to get into touch with others who'd been through or who were going through what we were dealing with at the time, alongside all the prayers and support of our community. The website for the foundation is www.tttsfoundation.org

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  10. Praying hard for you and your sweet babies! My niece was born at 23 weeks (she's 2 now :) ). The NICU can be a crazy emotional roller coaster, I pray God gives you peace and strength for today and the future.

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  11. I'm praying for you and your family.

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  12. I know someone who had mo/mo twin boys with twin-to-twin transfusion. They're now healthy, thriving teenagers. I will pray for the same outcome for your little ones.

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  13. You and the babies are heavy on my heart! Praying for everyone, please keep us updated!

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  14. What a shock! Praying for the health of you and your boys, please God may everything be okay. Keep us updated when you can.

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  15. Praise God for the gift of modern medicine! Praise God for calling men and women to medicine! Praise God for those men and women for answering that call! And thank you, everyone in the medical community, for answering that call! I will be praying for your baby boys' health, for your health, and for your whole family!

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  16. Been praying so much!!! Love you all!!!

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  17. already praying for you and your babies , hope everything goes well .

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  18. Thinking of you, your babies and your family, Zsuzsanna. Be sure to take care of yourself. It sounds like you are in very good hands with Dr Elliot. Much love and kind wishes to you all.

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  19. I will be praying for you. I have no clue what twin to twin transfusion is, or what mo/mo is, but you are in my prayers.

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  20. If you don't mind me asking, how did you afford the surgery without medical insurance? I have to get a procedure done and can't afford it. We qualify for Medicaid but my husband won't get it.

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  21. We have been paying the midwife and doctors in cash and on credit cards as we went. With the hospital, we arranged monthly payments spread over the next 12 months. Our cost will be higher yet before the end of the month because I have to see the peri in Phoenix weekly. We never carry a balance on any of our credit cards, so I really hope we will be able to pay this off quickly. In anticipation of possibly astronomical costs ahead, I am signing up for health insurance, which should start covering costs as of Jan. 1.

    This has pretty much strained us to our limits financially. I cannot tell you how incredibly thankful I am that we were able to afford this care, which saved the lives of the babies, and that my husband never batted an eye or hesitated about seeking the best of the best in care, even though the financial burden on him is great.

    Insurance for our family runs upwards of $15k per year for low-grade plans (accounting for premiums and deductibles) before they even start covering costs (not even accounting for co-pays). By not having insurance for almost a decade, saving the money and paying cash as necessary has always been better for us financially, even when we had babies, a surgery, and Isaac's hospital stay. However, since there is a real chance of this becoming a financial nightmare, having insurance for me is the better route to go.

    Personally, if you qualify for Medicaid, our stance is to sign up for it. You are paying into it out of every single pay check, so you already bought this "insurance," even though you didn't have a choice about it (same with Social Security benefits).

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    1. You are luck that you were able to get insurance with a high risk pregnancy. Prior to Obamacare it's unlikely you could have gotten coverage.

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    2. You do not pay Medicaid "of of every single pay check." You're thinking of Medicare. They're not the same.

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  22. If the doctors gave the second baby a 50/50 chance ,prayer increases those odds in your favor I'm sure that your babies will be fine.

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  23. I am praying for you, your family, and the babies. May God guide you, keep you and comfort you through this time.

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  24. I will get our church praying too. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Amy Witham

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  25. Keeping you and your boys in my prayers! I hope you don't mind me asking, is it still possible for you to have a home-birth with your midwife if you make it term?

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    1. No sane midwife would take on such a high risk birth.

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  26. If you do sign up for insurance check and make sure that you can add the babies on an individual policy vs a family policy. The rules vary by state and individual insurance carriers.

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  27. Dear Lord of Mercy and Father of Comfort,
    You are the One I turn to for help in times of need. I ask you to be with your humble servant Zsuzsanna, her 2 beautiful twin baby boys yet to be born, her husband Pastor Anderson and family. Psalm 107:20 says that you send out your Word and heal. So then, please send your healing Word to your servant Zsuzsanna and her 2 beautiful twin boys. In the name of Jesus, drive out all and any further complications during Zsuzsanna’s pregnancy and please place and keep your healing hand on the 2 twin boys who are your precious creation and bless them abundantly with complete health without blemish through your heavenly healing power.
    Dear Lord, I ask you to turn any fear into strength, suffering into compassion, sorrow into joy, and pain into comfort for Zsuzsanna and her wonderful family who ALL belong to you. May Zsuzsanna trust without ANY doubt in your goodness and hope in your faithfulness, even in the middle of this trying time for Zsuzsanna and her twin baby boys . Let Zsuzsanna be filled with patience and joy in your presence as she waits for your healing touch.
    Please restore Zsuzsanna and her 2 twin boys to full health, dear Father. Remove all fear and any doubt from Zsuzsanna’s heart by the power of your Holy Spirit, and may you, Lord, be glorified through the life of Zsuzsanna and Steven Anderson and their immediate family.
    As you heal and renew Zsuzsanna and her 2 twin boys, Lord, may Zsuzsanna bless and praise you. As I have no doubt whatsoever and I have 100% faith that you Lord will through your healing power will cause the birth of Zsuzsanna’s twin boys to be born completely healthy and without any further complications.
    All of this I pray in the name of Jesus Christ the living Son of the one and only living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Sebastian
    Ps Zsuzsanna I told your husband Steven on the 11/28/2013 that God would bless him in a way that he would least expect and that the outcome would surprise him. I received this revelation through prayer. So I know that our Lord and Saviour will make sure that your yet to be born twin boys WILL be born healthy and happy. God is good and faithful in His Word. Amen.

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